Five go wild in 21st century as films (and fame) beckon

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The Independent Online

"Gosh and golly, what absolutely ripping stuff! Let's celebrate with lashings of ginger beer all round ... " Or so might one of Enid Blyton's Famous Five characters react to the news that they are to be relaunched into the modern world.

"Gosh and golly, what absolutely ripping stuff! Let's celebrate with lashings of ginger beer all round ... " Or so might one of Enid Blyton's Famous Five characters react to the news that they are to be relaunched into the modern world.

Plans to create a new television series or film - and d merchandising - based on the 21 books of the Famous Five sequence are being considered by Chorion, the intellectual property rights group that owns Blyton's other famous creation, Noddy.

The Five books, published between 1942 and 1963 and depicting the adventures of Julian, Dick Anne, George and Timmy the dog, were highly popular. But how their innocent, middle-class world will go down with a generation reared on Harry Potter and PlayStations remains to be seen. Blyton, who wrote 700 books and was Britain's most successful children's author until J K Rowling, has been criticised for her outdated attitudes.

Chorion, headed by Lord Alli, who with Bob Geldof co-founded the company that produced The Big Breakfast , specialises in buying rights to literary estates and then rebranding and remarketing them.

Last week Chorion bought the rights to the Mr Men books, which it aims to develop into a worldwide brand, like Noddy. It purchased the Blyton estate in 1996. A spokesman for Chorion said the Famous Five books were "at the head of the queue" of Blyton works to be relaunched.

He said the details were being worked on, including whether the new version would be aimed at television or film. Chorion is developing another, unnamed, creation of Blyton for the pre-school market in conjunction with Channel Five.

The Mr Men acquisition was accompanied by a £16.50 share placing that will be used to develop the new projects.

The Famous Five last appeared on screen in a series made by Zenith for children's television in 1995. They were also parodied by the Comic Strip in the early days of Channel 4 in the 1980s.

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